Wearing casuals to work isn’t a new concept. Most offices today, start-ups in particular, have ditched the stuffy formal dress code for ensembles that veer towards the smart-casual or business casual space. This accommodates our busy lifestyles and makes switching from work to after-work mode easy. Having said that, some tend to overdo the ‘casual’ approach. How do you strike the right balance between the two? We’ve come up with a definitive list of do’s and don’ts to remember when it comes to treading the fine line between formal and fairly casual.
When it comes to wearing T-shirts at work, it’s important to ensure that you remain presentable. Crew-neck T-shirts with graphic prints, slogans or loud branding on them are to be avoided at all costs. Instead, stick to smart Polo T-shirts in solid colours like reds, greys, blacks, blues or greens paired with neutral-coloured bottoms. If you must go for prints stick to ditsy, geometric or classic prints like stripes — these styles are trendy yet presentable.
If you work in a start-up or a relatively laidback work place you could swap the striped tee for one with a quirkier print. Just make sure to go for a smaller print on a tee with a neutral background to balance out your outfit.
This is where many go wrong. Highly distressed, washed or overly fitted skinny jeans are just not work-appropriate. Low-waist baggy denims are an absolute no-no! Save these styles for your weekend outings or after-office hours. Pick simple jeans with a minimal or no wash in classic blue, black or indigo. Go for a straight or slim-fit that’s comfortable for all-day wear. Loafers or brogues can be your footwear of choice. This ensures that you can storm a boardroom and hit the watering holes with friends after signing out.
If you work at a more traditional office try this! For casual Fridays you can pick a classic pair of blue jeans and team them with a printed casual shirt. Add a tailored blazer in a shade like beige or khaki to smarten up your outfit.
If you work in a start-up or a relatively laidback work place you could ditch the blazer and go for lighter blue denims with subtle distressing at the knees. Pick a shirt with an ethnic or Indian-inspired print to add an interesting touch.
Wearing your love for your favourite band or football team on your sweatshirt might be alright when you’re chilling with friends but not in the office! When it comes to wearing sweatshirts at work, keep it simple. Simple solids in neutral hues are perfect and can be paired with casual shirts and chinos or jeans.
If you work at a more traditional office try this! Take a cue from the outfit above and beat those Monday blues. We’re talking about pairing a classic blue sweatshirt with off-white chinos and tan brogues. Simple yet stylish.
If you work in a start-up or a relatively laidback work place you can go for more sweatshirts in slightly more vibrant hues like red. Team it with jeans and a printed shirt so that just the collar and cuffs are visible adding a smart touch.
When it comes to casual blazers, think lightweight cotton or linen ones with a hint of texture for added style. Avoid picking blazers in synthetic or shiny fabrics. Go for light colours like powder blue or off-white that pair perfectly well with most business casuals. Finish off your look with tan footwear and accessories and you’re sure to impress!
If you work at a more traditional office try this! When there’s an important meeting but you don’t want to wear a suit, go for a checked shirt worn over well-fitting blue jeans. Add a light blue linen blazer for a polished touch.
If you work in a start-up or a relatively laidback work place you can go for printed or textured blazers that are sure to impress. Checks, stripes or textured finishes are always in trend.
The shoes you wear to work do grab attention, don’t they? The right way to go is to wear a pair of boat shoes, suede loafers or smart leather sneakers. Sports shoes should not make their way into your work wardrobe at all, save them for the gym.
If you work at a more traditional office try this! Contemporary footwear like boat shoes or monk-straps pair well with most ensembles. Stick to classic colours like tan, black or navy.
If you work in a start-up or a relatively laidback work place you can experiment a bit with your choice of footwear. We’re thinking plain white leather sneakers or tasseled loafers if you’re feeling more adventurous.
Time to give it a go yourself
So, there you go! The list is complete and the onus is firmly on you to raise the bar. Time to add your own spin on the smart-casual concept by trying these ensembles at work and of course, experimenting with a few on your own. Want some more ideas on how to spruce up your workwear? Read our post on outfits that can take you from boardroom-to-bar in a jiffy!